The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

No foiling teen’s Olympic dream

- DAMIEN STANNARD

IF YOU want a job done right, hand it to a teenager.

Not just any teen, of course, a fearless one who aims to get Australia back into the Olympic fencing arena after we failed to qualify anyone for the 2012 London

Olympics.

Brisbane schoolgirl Alicia Kwag is in Melbourne this weekend competing for an open national title.

She is already a star of the sport despite her youth, and carries the constant pressure of making an impact at next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s my big goal to make it to Rio,” the 16-year-old said.

“There's still a long way to go but that would be a real eyeopener.’’ As the country’s top-ranked fencer in women’s foil, the St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School student is in a good position to reach her goal.

She discovered the sport by chance as a six-year-old when her family often went for walks past the fencing club at Whites Hill on Brisbane’s southside.

Kwag took some convincing but she reluctantl­y agreed to give the sport a try to help overcome shyness.

“I was so shy and they thought it would give me confidence,” she said.

“I wasn’t so keen at first but Mum said I only had to do it for six months to overcome my shyness.

“Everyone there was bigger and stronger and I found it really hard at first but once I started learning the techniques it was unbelievab­le.’’

Kwag has dragged her father into the club and does not buy the notion that she must wait her turn behind older rivals.

“They might be older but are they more experience­d?” she said. “I’ve been doing this for nine years.’’

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